• Maxine Reyburn

The Thirteen Percenters - How to get your first clients

The most misunderstood part of real estate is the very beginning. Many new agents assume that once they have their license family and friends will come running to them begging them to sell their home or help them find a new one. This is FALSE friends, sorry to be the bear of bad news. When you’re starting out in this industry the beginning is the toughest part.

Tom Ferry did a study and learned that 87% of real estate agents fail within the first 5 years. EIGHTY SEVEN PERCENT PEOPLE!! That means 13% of us make it… what does that mean for you? It means you have to hustle and hustle big. BUT that also means that if you keep truckin, you’ll outlast your competition by a long shot and that’s good news. So, with that warm and fuzzy entrance I want to talk about the beginning. You passed your test (Congrats!! I know that part isn't easy… we’ll talk about how to pass your test some other time), you’ve paid your dues (hate to break it to you there's a lot of them), you’ve joined a brokerage (again, we’ll talk about how to pick a brokerage in a separate blog), and now you’re ready to take on the world of real estate (insert trumpet music here)... The only problem is… you have no clients, no leads in sight and no one is telling you what the heck to do.

Don’t panic - we’ve all been there.


Find your sphere of influence.

What do you do? Really… answer the question.

Do you workout a lot? Do you love to play chess? Do you bike ride? Are you a bartender? Are you a babysitter? Are you a dog walker?

What is it that you love to do?

BOOM there is your sphere of influence. It is the people around you that you can easily connect with because of a common interest.

Ryan Serhant, New York's top real estate agent said that when he was starting out he got six different gym memberships and he found his first clients at the gym. New York is also like the meanest state in the US so if he can start there and become the #1 agent, so can you.

Knowing that - go through your phone and write down everyone who you can connect with over that common interest. If you don’t have the contact info of those people, its time for you to start getting them. That might mean joining facebook groups, looking people up through the activity you do, or simply telling them you’d love to grab a cup of coffee sometime (boom numbers will be exchanged). Then start making connections, start up texting conversations, reach out to them on facebook or invite them to like your real estate page… boom they know you’re a realtor.

Can I stress to NOT be creepy BUT be persistent BUT don’t be annoying - ok people, find the balance that works and go from there. Let them EVENTUALLY know that you’re in real estate and that if they ever need help or have questions or have friends that do that they can reach out to you. Do not say this from the very beginning. Understand that you’re a friend first, a source of information second and a realtor third. If you mess up that order they’ll see you as nothing more than a car salesman.


Know your resources.

Something that always blows my mind is when new realtors have lived their whole lives in the same place but “don’t have any leads”

I started my real estate career in a place I had only lived for 2.5 years and knew only the people who I met in the last couple years. That is really starting from scratch. So I had to get creative. If you are doing real estate in the place that you grew up, you have an unlimited amount of leads - you just have to learn how to harness them.

To do this your homework is to go through your phone and write down everyone who

  1. You know for sure owns a home

  2. You know for sure rents a home

  3. Recently got engaged

  4. Recently got married

  5. Recently announced they are pregnant

  6. Recently had a baby

Now if I did real estate in the area I grew up - I would have at least 50 people written down (y’all those are leads)

If you’re like me and you’re antisocial and are really not connected with most of the people you wrote down, that’s ok. Friend them on social media, maybe shoot them a text (congrats on the engagement, marriage, new baby, etc.) and let the conversation roll.


The expensive way to make friends.

If I’m being honest this is the one that really got my career rocking. I had closed on my first deal (a buyer who works with my husband - sphere of influence people) and I knew that I had to get my face in front of more people. I bought Zillow leads, $250/month for Sadieville, KY. A little town that was pretty unknown but I knew it sat right above Georgetown, KY which was a booming market and I thought I might be able to “cross pollinate” and get some Georgetown leads from my cheap Sadieville leads.

I literally bought friends.

I closed two more deals - one was a FSBO I cold called ($55,000 piece of land with a trailer) and one was a buyer ($32,000 piece of land)... The start is not glamorous, it’s about persistence.

Slowly I started bumping up my leads and I would move them around to whichever zip code opened up that I thought I could afford and would be beneficial. Eventually I branched into Georgetown and Lexington, spent a bunch of money (I should have prefaced this with Zillow is extremely over priced... but again I knew no one, so it was my hail mary to launch my career. And it worked.) I got a couple clients who really started my referral network and it has really boomed from there.


Cold, cold calling.

I think they call it cold calling because 99% of the time you get a cold shoulder?? My definition anyway. I’m not going to go too into this because it will be a whole other post BUT here are some for free tidbits:

  1. Look at FSBO on Zillow or any other site and the owners information is below the agent names (sometimes the owner puts their name and number in the description)

  2. Drive around your neighborhood or town and write down the address and phone number of the FSBOs you see


Omg, use your social media.

I say OMG because it is FREE advertising - nowhere else can you get FREE advertising LITERALLY to your sphere of influence. Make it known that you are a realtor without being annoying - If I have to explain what not being annoying is, I’m sorry but you’re not going to make it (this is the end of the blog I’m getting harsh now sorry).

Create a brand for yourself - use professional photos, and please don’t post up close selfies to advertise yourself. As a realtor, you are your business, the more people like you, the more people will want to use you for business.

I’ve been advertising on my social platforms for almost 2 years and I am starting to get leads from them. I recently closed my $300k listing that I got from Instagram, I closed on a deal last spring with a buyer I got from Facebook (and my sphere of influence), I’m about to list a piece of land I got from Facebook and I just started working with a buyer I got from Instagram. There is no magic formula here - it's being helpful, consistent and don’t be annoying.


Lastly, don’t get discouraged. There are so many ways to make it work. I could go on forever but these are a few that most people don’t think of or forget to do.

A lot of the time your friends and family won’t see you as a professional until you really get going so don’t get your feelings hurt when you find out they bought a house and never asked you. It’s just how it goes!

You have a choice to make, you can be the 87% or the 13%.

It only helps me when you decide to be the 87… so keep hustling and prove me wrong (:


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